Should you be afraid of Twitter’s changes ?

Should you be afraid of Twitter’s changes ?

I love Twitter. I’m a Tweetaholic. I’m tweetin’ till ma fingers are bleedin’ — you get the idea. I could tell you all the reasons why I believe Twitter is the best social media platform. Short, specific messages, a clear UX, great for networking and content sharing, etc., but the number one I reason I luv Twitter is because it isn’t Facebook. Which comes down to the following difference : Facebook tells you what you should consume while Twitter allows you to choose it.

Which is unfortunately going to change soon.

According Twitter’s financial chief Anthony Noto, the dreadful Facebook-style curation is impending, probably as a means to be more attractive to advertisers.

Mmm, okay, I get why they’re doing it. Twitter is a public company and wants to attract more casual users who are still clueless about its purpose — heck, even my mother asks the most cliche of all Twitter noobie questions : Why would anyone be interested wether I’m taking a dump ?
I usually protest and say, Twitter is sooo much more than that, but it’s a hopeless battle against the uninitiated. Twitter is the tool for power users who know how to use it. And it was the last bastion of individually created content consumption, giving it that free-market vibe where everyone gets a shot and only know-how and dedication decided whether you succeeded at it or not.
So if I wanted to devour information about a topic, e.g. sci-fi fiction authors, I could make a list. If I wanted a scattergun gun approach and let it all wash over me at once, I could just scan my feed.
Either way, I had the choice. For the longest time.

Good bye.

The diversity of Twitter’s “your choice” approach now gets swapped with Facebook’s “curated” model, where a mysterious algorithm chooses which of your friend’s / follower’s updates appear on your newsfeed. Which means the middleman tells you what matters and what doesn’t. It also means that your tweets won’t reach the people who followed you BECAUSE they were interested in reading your tweets. Well, you probably could reach them by ‘boosting’ your message with the magic fuel of bucks. Mmmm, does this sound familiar ? *cough* fanpages *cough*

Listen, I get it — Twitter’s free. And when a service is free, you’re the product. I don’t come from planet Marx, I luv business. I’m happy to pay $5 – $10 a month for Twitter to curate a channel after my own interests with no outside filtering. BTW – I’m always wondering why social media platforms aren’t asking for a subscription-based model only ?
They’d make more money and reduce the spam without watering it down to the point of insignificance. As a business owner, wouldn’t you want to create a product that people LUV to use and LUV to pay for ?

I would.

Twitter’s transformation into Facebook also creeps from a trend where social media platforms become indistinguishable from each other — when Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus etc. offer samey services in samey UX, you’re beginning to think you’re a pawn in the Clone Wars.
In the future, the social media platforms will reek of sameness and censor information that doesn’t fit their interests, going against their users that helped them succeed.

Just another bad case of history retweeting itself ?


Urgh, hope dies last. I luv Twitter, still to this very day. It’s my network hub and the number one way of sharing and consuming content. But if the blue-birdy platform keeps facebooking, it may be time to change focus. The question is — what’s the alternative ? Must one hope for another startup to challenge the biggies or leave the social media platforms all together and concentrate on self- hosted blogging instead ?

  • TB

    Hey Mars,

    I definitely feel you on this. I loved Twitter from the moment I first gave it a go back in ’10. I’m sad to see Twitter adopting so many FB features over the past few months. But like you said, it’s free, and if you’re not paying for a product then you are the product.

    My suggestion to you–start a podcast. This seems to be the one place that you don’t have to worry about changes because you control the medium (to a certain degree, anyway). Plus, you’ll be able to still chat it up with your audience.

    • Mars Dorian

      Hey TB, that sounds like a good idea — I’ve actually recorded one episode about a year ago but it never went anywhere — more a USP problem than anything else (didn’t know how it was going to stand out from the other podcasts out there). But with the changes in social media, creating your own content in a variety of media outlets seems to be the only way ‘out’.

  • Joe Leech

    Twitter’s done for man. That sucks. Perhaps you will have to start filtering who you follow and try to keep it as tight as possible?
    When are these algorithms going to be put in place?

    • Mars Dorian

      Yeah, maybe. I’m afraid they do the whole pay to reach your follower thingy. I’d rather pay a monthly flatrate.

  • Steve Roy

    I think you should start your own social media platform, dude! That way we can keep it real indefinitely!

    • Mars Dorian

      Heh, that would take wayyy too much time from my work ;)

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